A treatment for Type 1 Diabetes? After one year of clinical testing, a bioengineered “pancreas” has been developed that showed introduction of insulin-producing islet cells into the omentum or layer of connective tissue and lining of the abdominal cavity can reduce or alleviate symptoms associated with Type 1 Diabetes
What does a bioengineered pancreas do?
The islet cells serve a unique purpose: to produce insulin naturally and replace the function of a defunct pancreas. Because insulin is necessary to produce energy from sugar. These specialized islet cells have made it possible for individuals who otherwise have to test their blood glucose levels multiple times per day and factor every variable in their surroundings into their environment to live a much more normal life.
Why does it matter?
According to CDC reports, more than 9% of americans suffer from Diabetes, a number that is projected to double or triple by 2050. Of that 9%, it is expected that 5-10% are Type 1 Diabetes. What makes Type 1 Diabetes so debilitating is how it can affect the human body. Type 1 Diabetes can come on suddenly and the pancreas ceases to produce insulin.
Who will it affect?
This breakthrough affects anyone with Type 1 diabetes, as it can allow them to return to normal activities by producing natural insulin instead if synthetic insulin which may not be fully compatible with the patient’s system. In total, this treatment may be able to effect change in the lives of as many as 470 million citizens worldwide according to information from the WHO
How will it affect them
This treatment can enable patients to eat and process carbohydrates normally, breaking them down into energy effectively. Perhaps the most significant effect that this treatment could have is replacing synthetic or animal derived insulin with internally synthesized insulin, reducing the effects of insulin resistance for patients.
Type 1 Diabetes is often a crippling disorder which requires persistence to monitor their blood sugar levels several times per day and supplement their system with synthesized or animal-derived insulin in order to survive. This bioengineered “pancreas” has completed a year of clinical trials. The results showed the artificial “pancreas” was capable of producing insulin in patients whose pancreas was incapable of doing so.
By shifting the body from artificial or other forms of externally generated insulin to an internally regulated source, patients showed effective regulation of blood glucose levels over time and without using insulin pumps or injectors.
Should this treatment become mainstream, it is possible to reduce the number of affected individuals on a global scale while limiting the impact of future cases. While this treatment only just passed through clinical trials, it is still poised to impact the lives of millions all over the globe.